How to Become a Paranormal Investigator
Paranormal investigation is extremely popular as an amateur hobby among enthusiasts who have experienced strange and seemingly unexplainable phenomenon first hand. Unfortunately, the majority of these potential investigators have no scientific or research background.
However, if you are interested in becoming a professional paranormal investigator, there are several areas of training you can focus on to ensure that you conduct yourself as an authentic scientist in the field. Doing so, you will increase your chances of successfully identifying the true source of phenomenon. If you are well trained, you may even be the one to make a true scientific breakthrough.
Recommended Paranormal Investigator TrainingIn order to enter any location and conduct a useful paranormal investigation, an investigator needs to be well equipped, well versed in the scientific method and also have an open mind. These are rare qualities in a field where the investigator must deal with phenomenon that is extremely unpredictable, hard to understand and, at times, somewhat scary. Paranormal investigation, more than any other field of scientific research, demands excellent troubleshooting skills, excellent critical thinking skills and superior techniques using sensitive equipment.
Technology, Sensors and Research EquipmentSince paranormal phenomenon remains so poorly understood, scientific investigators hoping to uncover the cause often find themselves starting from scratch. Over the years, investigators have uncovered some patterns such as elevated EMF levels, visible apparitions and orbs and even audible recordings called EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon). However, despite these findings, no one knows which environmental factors influence paranormal phenomenon. Since the cause is still an unknown, all environmental variables must be measured with the following equipment.
Accelerometers measure even the most minute vibrations of objects.
Obviously, a beginning investigator may not be able to afford all of the test equipment. However, anyone sincerely interested in conducting a serious study in this field will require this equipment. Possible funding may be obtained from grants or funds from non-profit organizations, or the investigator may join an existing local paranormal research group.
The Scientific ProcessToo often, researchers record an environmental anomaly, such as an EVP or an apparition, and jump to the conclusion that it is a ghost, a spirit, or whatever other entity fits within their personal belief system. Psychics use their intuitive feelings to infer that a spirit is present and which kind of emotional energy the entity emits. Unfortunately, these procedures fall short of the true scientific method because psychic functioning, while quite possibly a real phenomenon, has never been scientifically verified. Therefore, it isn't an effective tool to measure paranormal activity.
Professional investigators do the opposite. They approach every strange activity without a pre-conceived solution in mind. Even those who are religiously devout and believe in spirits can follow the scientific method by checking their personal beliefs at the door. Good ghost hunters aim to do only one thing - examine evidence and follow it to wherever it leads. This doesn't mean verifying it or debunking it. It only means recording it and searching for the source using test equipment.
The single most important thing a potential researcher can do is to take at least one university level course on the "scientific method". Most community colleges offer such courses to the public. Additionally, books such as Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence, by Etzel Cardena are excellent resources as well.
The Paranormal Research Society (PRS), founded by Ryan Buell of Paranormal State fame, established an excellent process of training professional field investigators. In order to join the organization, potential investigators are put through an impressive training regimen that includes a weekly class on paranormal phenomenon, investigative techniques, field training and writing a final research paper.
By requiring such rigorous training, Ryan Buell reports on the PRS website that interested students dropped by 80%. The field of paranormal research will only elevate above amateur science when all researchers are properly trained in such a manner.
Characteristics of a Good Paranormal InvestigatorThere are certain personal characteristics vital to learning how to become a paranormal investigator. A successful paranormal researcher is, for all intents and purposes, a scientist. Therefore, the traits that form a good scientist will particularly help anyone hoping to learn more about the cause of hauntings and other strange occurrences.
The Primary Characteristics of a Good Investigator
- Immediately looks for a reasonable cause for an odd event
- Excellent troubleshooting and "trial-and-error" research skills
- Confident under pressure and a very calm demeanor
- Does not scare easily
- National Society of Paranormal Investigation and Research
- The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena
- The Society for Psychical Research
- Paranormal Research of Organized Studies